BEST PRACTICE: Update progress against tasks on a regular basis
Track project status openly and honestly. Consider a task complete only when it is 100% complete. CAUTION: Having a task reflect actual hours greater than or equal to the estimate does not mean the task is complete. It is possible that the task requires more effort than originally comprehended. Capture the delta between the baseline estimate and the actual in lessons learned so that it can be used to improve the estimates and planning of future projects.
Having team resources update a task's status on a regular basis provides visibility to overall status, ensures that issues are resolved in a timely manner, and aids in keeping the project on track. Having current status and other important information updated on a regular basis enables the project manager to quickly and accurately report status without having to get information directly from each team member. Additionally, anyone having visibility to the project plan can quickly understand the overall status at any time. Finally, having team members track their time against tasks on a regular basis minimizes errors, rework or late billing in the accounting cycle.
Ideally, progress against tasks should be updated as the work is performed. Realistically, progress should be updated daily. Minimally, progress must be maintained weekly; however, this typically means duplicate efforts since resources need to maintain a list of everything they did throughout the week. Updating the project plan real-time or daily minimizes the need for duplication.
BEST PRACTICE: Perform lessons learned (post-mortem) with the project team at the end of each project phase
The purpose of the lessons learned (post-mortem) is to capture those things learned throughout the phase while they are fresh in the project team's mind. The focus should be on what went well and what things could have been done better. Performing this exercise at regular intervals (i.e. end of each phase) throughout the project, allows the team the opportunity to incorporate some of the improvement ideas in the subsequent phases of the project.
BEST PRACTICE: Quality Assurance / Requirements Traceability Matrix
Quality management includes identifying quality requirements and / or standards for the project, as well as performing quality assurance audits to ensure the delivered product is free of defects and meets the project's objectives. The Requirements Traceability Matrix is a method to ensure all approved requirements are developed and delivered. It provides a visual mapping of requirement --> design --> development --> testing --> delivery.
In addition, the document aids testing by providing documentation of how the product is to be tested, how it was tested, who tested it and the results.